Inner Child, Positive things, Therapy

A new friend…

…for Tedders.

I just bought a new teddy bear as Tedders is staying with a friend back home. But the new guy needs a name. So please send in your favorite teddy bear names once again.

Lotte Mart didn’t have a huge selection of stuffed animals. In fact there were two teddy bears to choose from. The selling point on this little guy was “Choco-Love” written on his left foot.

He is very soft and cuddly. I can tell he will grow up to be a proper teddy bear and a good friend for Tedders.

Some pictures so you can see his personality…

 

A wide shot.

Now you can see “Choco-Love” written on his foot.

A close up of his face.

Emotions, Positive things

Moving forward

I keep trying to move forward. I have good days and I have bad days. I have times when I’m reasonably happy. And I have times I get absolutely terrified.

Today was a good example. We had some nasty storms move through the area. I am absolutely terrified of thunder storms. I just want to hide when they start. The noise is typically overwhelming. I wanted to have the computer on so I would have someone to talk to. But I knew frying my laptop would not be a good thing. So I shut it down and tried to distract myself. I started rereading the latest Harry Potter book. I tried not to let myself descend down into panic.

And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. I was scared. But I gave myself permission to be afraid.

It’s a lot nicer outside now that the storm has passed. It probably dropped almost 30 degrees in about 20 minutes.

I’m still pretty beat from being out in the heat and humidity for two days. So I think I’m going to turn in early tonight. I have all of this week off for summer break. I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I do know I am going to relax.

Anxiety, Emotions, Positive things

Random Updates

My familiarity and comfort level with Ubuntu is getting better every day.  I’m no longer terrified to try new things for fear of breaking my computer.  I tried to get wireless networking functional earlier this week (didn’t succeed) and I thought I had broken my entire internet connection.  Even though it was showing an active wired connection, Firefox and BOINC couldn’t connect to the internet.  Oh well I thought.  I’m planning on repartitioning my hard drive next week and reinstalling both Ubuntu and Vista.  So it’s no big loss.  I booted back into Ubuntu last night and the internet connection was fine.

I fiddled some with the font size and display characteristics.  Out of the box, Ubuntu doesn’t support the native resolution of my laptop’s monitor (it’s some wide screen thing) so everything is sort of big and fuzzy.  I’ve got it looking fairly decent now.

I tried some new command line things.  A few days ago Eric and I were having a conversation about pipes and I/O redirection.  I’m trying to make a master play list for mplayer so I don’t have to keep changing directories to get my music to play.  Although I got the redirect to work, mplayer is having issues with the file because it’s using relative paths, not absolute ones.  So I’m trying to figure out how to make it use what I need it to use.

At work, we’re having our theme days.  It’s just a fancy way of saying we take the kids to the park and let them play.  It’s hot and humid here.  And even though my activity allows me to sit in the shade, it’s still pretty miserable.  To add to my anxiety, one of the Korean teachers walks around with a megaphone blaring the siren to get the kids’ attention.  It worked the first few times.  After that it was down right annoying.  Think Ty Pennington (from ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) on crack.  Doesn’t help she blasted in my ear.  I’ve already lost about 20% of the hearing in that ear due to some inner ear trauma from flying with an unknown ear infection (and later had surgery on the same ear).  So I don’t need to lose any more hearing in it.  She’s lucky that she didn’t end up in the fountain along with her megaphone.

Child Abuse, Emotions, Fears, Friends, Relationships, Therapy

A Heartfelt Thank You

This was written for my own selfish reasons. I needed some way to express the thanks I feel for all that Eric has done for me. It’s not something that I can ever send because it reveals too much about me. However, I did send a very short note that I hope captured the spirit of this letter.


Dear Eric,

I don’t even know how to thank you for the kindness you’ve showed me the past few weeks. You don’t know it, but by just teaching me and talking to me, you have helped me face one of my biggest fears. No, not that my computer will turn into a black hole if I mistype a command. But rather than all men will hurt me in some way if I let them get close to me.

I can’t even begin to describe to you how badly people have hurt me in the past. And I can’t tell you how difficult it is for me not to carry those past hurts into the present. By you just being patient and kind, it’s getting easier for me to see that not all men are like my father, grandfather and uncle. And that not all men are like my ex.

Logically, I knew that you were thousands of miles away. You weren’t going to march over to my apartment and starting beating me. But being hurt isn’t limited to physical assault. Words can be just as, if not more, damaging. Some of my ex’s most effective tactics were verbal. But you never called me names. You never told me to go away. You never lost your patience with me.

You have never made me feel stupid or inferior in any way. And when I called myself an idiot, you corrected me, pointing out that being inexperienced isn’t the same as being an idiot. You always continued to explain things that I didn’t understand in a way I could understand. And you continued to challenge me (gently of course) to try new things even though I was afraid of what might happen.

And as much as my inexperience (and confusion) annoyed me, you saw it as a valuable asset to you. My “fresh eyes” can help you make the documentation you have better. And in my struggles to try to learn something new, I’m making things better for the entire community.

I’m continually amazed that someone would care enough to take the time to answer the many questions I have and help me get started without expecting anything in return. You gave of your time and knowledge freely. So many people in my life have taken so much from me. And then there are those who needed me do do x, y and z, yet never would give back when I needed something.

It’s sometimes hard for me to accept that you are kind and giving. I get upset because I think you’re just “being nice” when you say positive things about me. I get scared because I expect to be hurt. In some ways, I’d rather you call me stupid and tell me to give up this foolish idea of learning to use Linux. It fits in better with the way I think about myself and what I expect from other people. In some ways, I’d rather you were a jerk. That way I could go on thinking all men are the same.

I once had a psychologist tell me that cognitive dissonance is one of the hardest things for an abuse survivor to overcome. We look for every example that we can find that fits into our mental schemas and try to ignore the counter examples because challenging our beliefs hurts too much. It makes us see just how terrible our abusers actually were to us. It’s sometimes easier to cope with the abuse if we simply say “It wasn’t that bad”.

I believe many people come into our lives for a reason. I believe we start certain things for a reason. We may not always know what those reasons are when we start or we meet that person. And the reasons we think there are may be true, but there are often other reasons that become apparent at a later time.

I’m starting to let the huge walls I’ve erected come down. I know there will be times when I find myself frightened enough to want to rebuild them. And even if that doesn’t happen with you, I can think back on the kindness and gentleness you’ve shown me and try to resist the urge to wall myself off from humanity.

With many thanks,

Kathryn

Anxiety, Emotions, Fears

Panic

I had a particularly nasty panic attack earlier today.  I know what brought it on.  I don’t really feel like writing about it because I don’t want to trigger the panic again.  Yeah.  Avoidance.  Not the best coping strategy, but it’s working right now.

I ended up taking an Ativan and going for a walk.  I bought a wireless router, but I have no idea how to set it up.  So I’m waiting on advice from my genius brother.

Child Abuse, Emotions, Fears, Positive things, Relationships, Therapy

A matter of trust

Trust seems to be one of my biggest issues. In the recent past it was an issue that I was afraid to tackle. I did the whole therapy thing. But I too afraid to really open up. Granted, I only saw my therapist for a couple of months. And that really isn’t very long to build up trust. But I never really let the walls come down.

My biggest issues really surround men. I have a hard time trusting women, but it’s somewhat easier for me to interact with them. I tend to shy away from men, even if it’s just friendship. I’ve been working on this over the last six months or so. Not regularly of course. And not in a face to face relationship.

It’s gotten somewhat easier as time has gone by. I still get nervous when talking to these couple of guys. But I don’t let it show anymore. And I’m able to tell myself that what I’m feeling is valid. I don’t automatically beat myself up for those feelings anymore.

In the last few weeks, I’ve taken another step forward in conquering one of my more irrational fears. I’ve briefly written about installing Ubuntu Linux on my fairly new, very shiny laptop. In some ways, it’s completely different from Windows. In other ways, I sometimes forget I’m not in Windows. One thing that Linux tends to require is some work on the command line. One of my most unfounded and irrational fears is that when I’m typing in commands, if I misspell one word or put a space in the wrong place, my entire computer will turn into a black hole and destroy a large chunk of the city. Now, of course, this has never happened. And it’s extremely unlikely that the computer would actually turn into a black hole.

I’ve been doing more and more through the command line. And it gets easier every time. I realized the other day when I went to create another playlist for mplayer that I didn’t even blink. I just changed to the correct directory, typed ls *.m4a > playlist and then hit enter. I didn’t even think about it. I’ve also found myself trying things before I ask about them or trying the things that Eric talks about in his emails.

I also mentioned the help that Eric has given me through out this entire project. I kind of surprised myself in that I didn’t run away or push him away. I’m famous for doing both. Not only have I been working on my command line fears, I’m working on my trust issues. I know two things logically. One is that Eric is thousands of miles away from me. The other is that he isn’t the kind of person who would be mean or cruel or hurtful. When dealing with the intense fear, logical thinking doesn’t always help. But when I started getting scared, I tried to be logical about things. And it did help.

One of the fears I had when I started working under Eric’s guidance was that he would tell me that I am stupid. I heard myself described as stupid so many times growing up that I came to believe it. I still find myself falling into the trap of calling myself stupid when I’m working in Linux. But as Eric pointed out to me, what I really am is inexperienced. And now I see that there is a world of difference between being stupid and being inexperienced.

It’s somewhat amazing how attempting to conquer a seemingly unrelated fear led to confronting on of my most deeply engrained and intense fears. I never dreamed that I would have made the personal progress I’ve made just by loading up a new operating system onto my computer.

Emotions, Friends, Positive things, PTSD, Relationships

The small things

First please let me post a very huge, very public thank you for all the support everyone has shown me both on the comments here and through email.

I’ve had two side projects going on for the last few weeks. One is learning to use Ubuntu as an operating system. The other was getting BOINC to compile using Visual Studio under Windows. Both projects were interesting. The Ubuntu one is still on going and will be for quite some time. The VS studio project is officially done. I didn’t manage to make it work. And I spent a good part of Sunday beating myself up over it. But then I had an email conversation with one of the developers and he told me that he too finds it difficult to troubleshoot VS issues. So I’m now willing to entertain the thought that my inability to get this to work isn’t 100% my fault (maybe 99.5%).

The Ubuntu project is going somewhat better. I have an intense fear of the Terminal (or any command line interface for that matter) but I’m working on tackling it. The weekend I started this whole adventure, I ran into issues getting my music library to play. Either I couldn’t play m4a files in one program or the other program refused to see the partition my music is on. I posted for help on the BOINC boards I moderate (so many smart people hang out there) and got some. I have to say an especially huge thank you to Eric. He walked me through building mpg123 from source. Even with the snags I hit and the questions I asked, he remained helpful and patient. And we all know that I’m not always the easiest person to help.

But more importantly than getting my music to play or using the Terminal to do stuff, I had a focused conversation with someone of the male gender. I didn’t run away. I didn’t completely and totally flip out. I had my fears. And as intense as those fears were, I stuck with it. Logically, I knew I know Eric well enough to know that he probably wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. But the fear is always there.

It’s my hope that by continuing to interact via email with people like Eric, I can desensitize myself. The only way I’m going to move on with my life is to confront the fears and push through them.

Anxiety, Emotions, Fears, Friends, PTSD

Angry at myself

For once, I know exactly what I’m feeling. I’m pissed as hell at myself. My own personal issues are getting in the way of moving forward in a totally unrelated area of my life.

Hmmmmm… what’s the best way to make a long story short… Or as least as short as I can…

Two weekends ago, I decided to install Linux (Ubuntu Feisty Fawn to be exact) on an empty partition. I had been planning on this for a couple months now, but just got around to it. Not much on TV here, so I always have music playing. All of my music is encoded as either mp3 or m4a. I managed to get Rhythm Box to play the mp3 files (and of course all my good music is encoded as m4a) only. VLC didn’t seem to be able to find the partition that my music lives on but it would play both the mp3 and m4a files. So I made due and just listening to the music encoded as mp3.

I posted in a forum where I moderate asking for help finding a player that would a) play both formats and b) recognize my FAT32 partition. In that thread, another guy posted saying he was searching for the same thing, but his requirements were a bit different than mine (he wanted something he could use from the command line).

After a bit of his own searching he found something that fit his criteria and posted directions for me to get it up and running. Understand, that I’m absolutely terrified of anything to do with the command line. My anxiety skyrockets when I open it up. I’m convinced that the entire computer will self destruct and cause Ulsan to disappear off the map if I mistype just one character. And yes, I know it isn’t rational.

The only thing I was able to do while reading his directions was laugh. He had so seriously overestimated my knowledge of Linux, it was comical. In my fits of hysterical laughter, I forgot to thank Eric for taking the time to write out those directions for me.

I sent him an email this morning thanking him and also explaining that I understood the concept of what he described on his message board posts. It was just that I had no idea how to put it into practice. It’s amazing what a few hours of sleep can do for rationality.

A few hours later, he emailed me back. I didn’t see it until later in the afternoon when I was on break (and supposed to be entering next week’s lessons plans in the computer). I immediately got sick to my stomach. My own personal issues jumped to the forefront. And it pisses me off.

Eric had asked two things. If I wanted to try and tackle this irrational fear of mine. And if I thought a structured “class” would help. In the past, he taught a college introductory level class to science students on programming (in Fortran no less) and the use of the Unix command line. If I was interested, he was willing to use it as an opportunity to revise his lesson plans and notes.

Note that there isn’t anything inherently frightening about either of those questions. And I can answer the first one with a resounding yes. If I move over to Linux (as I really would like to do) then I need to get comfortable with the command line. It was the second one that got me. It would involve a more one-on-one interaction with him. And he was unfortunately born male. I’m terrified. And it’s so irrational it pisses me off. There’s a large ocean and the better part of a continent separating me from him. And from the brief encounters I’ve had with him, I’m pretty confident that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. In fact, he’s been nothing but supportive of me when issues have popped up in the past (doesn’t directly talk about Eric, but it was on his boards where that issue started).

I emailed him back with an apology for taking so long to get back to him (almost 14 hours – I try to answer my email within 6 hours tops). And I told him that I do want to tackle this stupid command line phobia. And I told him that yes, I would be interested in working through his course materials. I also told him that his email scared me to death on a personal level, but didn’t go into any details as to why.

So now I sit here writing this. I’m fighting back the tears. I don’t want to cry. I’m pissed at myself for a few reasons. I’m pissed because I’m letting my past get in the way of making my future better/more interesting. I’m pissed because I should just get over all this stuff already. I’m pissed because I feel like such an idiot. And I’m pissed at myself for being pissed off.

And I sit here with my anxiety sky rocketing every time I hear my nifty little gmail notifier chime (I so love Firefox). I keep thinking it’s going to be a message from Eric telling me what an ass I am. Why oh why do I keep putting thoughts in other people’s heads? But that’s a post for another day.